View Full Version : B&W ArtBooks

09-25-2010, 12:32 PM
I think many of you are old enough to remember that so many Art Books a while back were filled with black and white photos of famous paintings. Thanks goodness that has changed. When I was teaching art I thought it was such a shame that so many books in the Art library suffered from this malady.
I made a special trip to our local library today to get the 1975 publication of Richard Schmid Paints Landscapes. It took almost an hour to find; someone had stacked it in the wrong area. I couldn't wait to get home and sit in my lazyboy chair viewing the great paintings. ( I know, I know, you can do it on line, but there is just something better about a book).
Well, was I dissapointed......MOST of the paintings were in black and white and Schmid is all about color.
Anyway......my old high school art teachers used to say that the black and white pictures showed the composition which was most important....Yeah RIGHT!!!
I am venting: Artbooks without color are a waste whether cheaper to print or not.....Thanks, I feel better now!. :rolleyes: Derek

Kathryn Wilson
09-25-2010, 01:35 PM
I agree Derek ... I have that book and haven't picked it up in a long time because of the lack of color.

You have to remember printing processes even not so far back were limited and expensive - at least you didn't buy it, like I did.

09-25-2010, 01:54 PM
I agree - I know it's all about value, but seeing a painting as it was intended to be viewed is definitely the way to go. Those black and white reproductions just leave so much out of the equation. I tend not to use them very much. The one exception is Carlson's Landscape book. The theory in it is extremely useful. I don't really use the pictures so much, because they are black and white. The text, on the other hand, is remarkable. Probably my only exception to your 'beef'!

09-25-2010, 03:04 PM
Re-re-re-re (etc)-reading Carlson about 3-4 weeks ago, I Discovered! the visibility of composition in the bw photos. If they're *that* good in bw...

On the other hand, I often think that bw photo and old bw films are in many ways better than colour, as there is less distraction. With no glory to watch, I find I follow the play and focus on the characters. :-)

OK, there is always something worse. I've been reading books from the 1800s -- on composition (!) -- with no pictures, only text, and I wished longingly for any bw pic!

09-25-2010, 04:30 PM
What would be really nice would be a book that contained both B+W and color images sided by side, to see what colors actually created those values.